Sport

Watersport boom

By Jamie Lowe

Deniliquin is cementing itself as one of the premier destinations for water sports, with two massive competitions to be held on the Edward River this season.

It begins with the Barefoot Victoria Water Ski Club’s three-day visit this weekend.

Then, on January 18, Deniliquin will host round four of the Wakeboard Victoria ability based competition.

There are plans to make this a three day event also.

Both events will be based at the Deniliquin Boat Club, and will attract some of the best skiiers and wakeboarders from across Victoria and parts of NSW.

As well as putting Deniliquin on the map as a sporting venue, the number of competitors, support crew and spectators expected to attend each event is predicted to provide a reasonable boost to the local economy.

‘‘While we are seeing a downturn in the national economy, we know that when visitors some to town they are spending their money,’’ Deniliquin Business Chamber president Paula Rutter said.

‘‘When you have a three day event, it’s not just the accommodation providers who benefit.

‘‘It’s your eateries, your clothing stores, your supermarkets and more that see the benefit.

‘‘Take the Melbourne Cup long weekend for example; our beauty service were kept very busy during that period.’’

This weekend’s barefoot event will kick-off with a special ski school session from 5pm on Friday.

Two two days of Barefoot Victoria action will be held from as early as 7.30am on Saturday and Sunday.

Wakeboard Victoria is looking at running a similar format when it returns to the Deniliquin Boat Club in January.

Wakeboard Victoria secretary Kahren Bennett said it is anticipated round four will attract at least 50 competitors to Deniliquin in an attempt to earn points for the state titles.

After the success of last year’s event held at Deni, which attracted 55 competitors and more than 200 spectators, Wakeboard Victoria secretary Kahren Bennett said the event may be held over three days.

‘‘Last year’s event in Deni (attracting 55 competitors and about 200 support crew and spectators) was our biggest ever,’’ she said.

‘‘We were blown away with how big it was. It’s just a completely different atmosphere.

‘‘Looking at the number of entrants we’ve had previously, we decided we needed to hold the competition over at least two days.

‘‘We’ll look to kick things off on the Friday and continue on the Saturday, but we are currently discussing the possibility of running an extra day of competition on top of that.

‘‘Because it's far away from home compared to other events, all the competitors and their families make a weekend of it and stay in Deni for a couple of nights.

‘‘The Deni Boat Club puts on an outstanding event for us too, so it actually encourages more people to check it out.’’